The Mazda 6’s body suffered only a small amount of deformation at its driver’s screen pillar. But it lost points in the tests because the driver’s footwell ruptured. What’s more, the driver experienced high levels of impact force on his chest in the front and side impacts, increasing his chances of injury. But in other respects the car provided balanced protection for its occupants during the front and side impacts. Protection for children was mixed but that for pedestrians was only average for this size and type of car.
The restraint system features dual-stage airbags, belt pretensioners and load limiters. These kept the driver’s head and chest away from the steering wheel, but he experienced relatively high chest loads. Hard points under the steering column posed a risk to his knees and upper legs. The centre rear seat came equipped with a three-point belt. This provides superior protection compared with a lap-only belt.
An impressive side impact protection system includes seat-mounted thorax airbags and a curtain airbag. As a result, the car performed well in the side impact and pole tests. But the Mazda 6 failed to score full marks because forces were transferred in an unrealistic manner between the driver dummy’s back and his seat, reducing the impact forces reaching the dummy’s chest instruments.
The restraints recommended for both children were forward-facing Britax Romer Duo Plus. These provided protection, although the older child risked head injury in the side impact. Text labels warning against the fitting of a rear-facing restraint on a seat with an airbag were well designed, and fixed to both sides of the passenger’s sun visor.
A small area of the bonnet offered cushioning where a child’s head might most likely strike but the adult head impact area and the Mazda’s wings were ‘unfriendly’. Tests on the bumper and the leading edge of its bonnet showed some compliance, too. This is a poor result for a new design.